Expats returning to UK looking to secure grammar school place(19 Posts)
We are looking to relocate back to the UK soon and would like to secure a grammar school place for our son. He currently attends a private international school overseas so he cannot take the +11. We have a home in the UK near Amersham so Dr Chanoller's is our aim. Can anyone offer any advice on how we go about in securing a place before we return? The risk we are trying to avoid is having to relocate first, then go through the LA allocation system and ending up with a different school. Is going to an independent school while being on the DC waitlist and option? If so any recommendation on IS in the area?
How old is your son?
Normal entry is at 11. You need to make an application for him to sit the entrance exam by the required date according to his age. As long as he sits the exam and obtains a score of 121 or above he will qualify for a place as long as you live in the catchment area by the application date. Whatever school he currently goes to doesn't matter.
Unless you are Armed Forces or other qualifying government role, you (probably) cannot apply for a state school place until the prospective pupil is resident in UK.
Some boroughs might accept applications based on a future address in some circumstances (eg when you have proof of address and proof of moving date). But they are not obliged to.
What school year is DS in now?
I have heard that Dr Challoner's have residence requirements to stop people moving close to the school to get a place just before the application deadline. So you would need to move back to your house in Amersham several months before applying. I think Chesham Grammar and other grammar schools don't have the same rules. All the Bucks grammar schools are unlikely to have many places outside of normal admission times.
Agree with Meditrina. Unless you are in crown service it is unlikely you will be able to get any kind of school place for your son before you move back to the UK. Also, as GRW says, if this is an in-year application, i.e. you are not back in the UK in time for your son to take the 11+ and apply as part of the normal admissions round, the best you are likely to get is a waiting list place as the school will almost certainly be full.
If he can’t take an 11 plus and isn’t resident, then grammar school is not going to be suitable. Competition for places is intense for good grammars, and entry via 12/13+ exams is the exception not the rule.
We went through the whole relocating from abroad school nightmare and (as we could afford it), went for independent as it meant we had a place secured in plenty of time with no hassle.
Best thing to do is contact the admissions office at the school/local authority as rules vary in different places.
If you already have a house in the area you may be able to apply, otherwise how the heck are expat children ever supposed to get a school place?
Expat children get places in the same way as anyone who moves.
Because unless you are Forces (etc) with a posting order/equivalent, you have no right to apply from a future address, whether that's round the corner or across the globe. Though I think it is pretty rare for admissions to be accepted for DC who don't live in UK At time of application.
So you do what all movers do - adjust your dates to fit the admissions round, or accept that an in-year application may well not get you the school you might otherwise have chosen, or brace yourself to appeal.
And I would just suggest forgetting a Grammar school and move to a good all Comprehensive area, where you don't have most of the high achievers creamed off. Surrey Or Hampshire spring to mind, but Oxfordshire can be pretty good too.
There's no official (or ethical) way you can do this sorry.
You could possibly move back, approach the grammar in years 8+ and if there's a place, sit the exam then. Or move back for the start of year 6 and sit the exam.
You can't get out of sitting exams, even if you are International I'm afraid. Your son will be judged against all the other students looking for a place and the exam is part of that process.
Your best bet if you can afford the fees and if you want to live in the house you have is visit independent schools locally and choose the best one that fits your son the most with his academic and other interests. And keep him there until at least GCSEs. Look at options for moving to the state grammar for sixth form perhaps, if you think it would be the best at that stage.
You could move, put your son into a private school for a year and sit the 12plus?
For Dr Challoners you have to be resident from the April before sitting the 11 plus, so April 2018 for entry in September 2019. I think year 8 or 9 places are few & far between. Have you looked at www.elevenplusexams.co.uk?
1. you cannot apply for a school place until you are resident here.
for grammar school, you need to take the 11+ at the beginning of year 6. At the time of taking the exam you do not have to be resident. But the timing is very tight, you have to fill in the application form by 31st October in year 6, with a uk address.
The rules vary from place to place. There are boroughs/LEAs that used to allow you to take the 11+ overseas at your nearest embassy. But I have a feeling that no-one does this any more.
Depending on the grammar school, where you live for your application may be irrelevant, as long as you pass. eg the school accepts applicants from the highest score down, regardless of where they live. (within UK) Added to that, although you apply in Oct, the address is confirmed in dec/jan, so technically you could take the exam, then move back to anywhere in UK and put in your application form, while you sorted out housing/gave tenants notice etc.
But, unfortunately, the only way to be sure is to return to UK before the test is taken in sept of year 6.
If you return later, you will be a late applicant, or an in-year applicant. At that point the places are already filled, but you can go on a waiting list and get in if someone doesn't take up a place, or leaves.
My brother and SIL were facing this, and ended up with one of them and their eldest daughter returning to UK in sept year 6 and renting a house, while the rest of the family finished up overseas and moved back during the year. It was not great to be honest.
NGNG, if you're not already in county and au fait with the 11+ system it can be very difficult.
A few years ago, when DD was in Y6, there was the possibility of a family relocation to Buckinghamshire for work reasons. It was (IIRC) around February / March time, so I rang up the LEA and asked about Y7 places. They were really quite unhelpful - possibly they are used to people trying to 'game' them - and said that DD would have to sit the 11+ then go to a secondary modern / comp and wait until a grammar school place became available. Obviously, a geographical relocation and two school moves was unacceptable to us, and the move never took place.
Before parents from grammar school counties leap down my throat about queue jumping and expecting special treatment, I really wasn''t. It was a genuine enquiry from someone who, whilst a teacher herself, works in a non-grammar county. The 11+ system is very rigid and unfortunately doesn't have any flexibility for genuinely life-changing events.
Steppemum, that's not quite right for DCGS you have to be resident in the April, take the test in September & apply for a place in October. It is the only school in Bucks with the requirement. I think all the others it is October.
“how the heck are expat children ever supposed to get a school place?”
They will get a place. The LA has an obligation to provide a place. And if it isn’t a place you like you join the waiting lists like everyone else who would prefer a different school.
OP: do have a look at other state schools within reach, Grammar schools are not the be all and end all of decent schooling. Once you are back you can apply to several schools and be on the waiting lists for all. Waiting lists are held in order of how applicants meet the criteria, so if it is on distance you will get a place ahead of people who have been on tne list for ages if you live closer.
The logistics of moving are tricky for schools applications.
The Amersham School is a great secondary option. If you got a place there and were able to transfer in y8 or y9, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Also consider Chesham. The local prep has boys up to 13 and there is also Berkhamsted School. Bucks is not blessed with boys or co Ed independent schools so you may need to accept the school you are given and hope for a later move with 12 plus. Or move back on time of course although getting a primary place won’t fill you with glee either because you won’t like the school with places!
They don't just check your address at the point of application, but also a few months further down the line, if an offer is made.
I think they are willing to be accommodating though. We moved to the area in September and were too late to take the 11+, but they have additional sittings in October and November so I think they are willing to be amenable if your circumstances are genuine. What they won't be tolerant of is anyone who is trying to play the system.
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